A homeless man, who had been sighted loitering and sleeping in Meier Hall on multiple occasions, received a warning from Stanford police early Tuesday morning after a Resident Assistant (RA) discovered and reported the behavior.
Residents initially wondered whether the man — whom RAs Isaiah Drummond ’20 and Nizhóní Begay ’20 described as Asian, 5′ 7″, 150 pounds and in his mid-20s — was a graduate student or some other Stanford affiliate. After RAs were unable to identify him from a photo database of student residents, they contacted police at 1:47 a.m. Tuesday morning. Stanford University Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) formally issued the warning at 3:19 a.m.
The police and a campus Residence Dean, who was on call when the intruder was discovered, instructed RAs on how to ensure residents’ safety.
“We warned the residents to just be mindful and keep their doors locked and to stay in their room unless absolutely necessary, just as precautionary measures,” Drummond said.
He added in an email to The Daily that no resident was injured by the intruder.
Police searched inside and outside of the dorm but were unable to locate the man, though they did find personal belongings he had left behind in the lounge. The items included a backpack, laptop and some documents, from which police deduced the man’s name.
Two hours later, a Deputy stopped a man who she recognized from previous incidents walking nearby. He matched the description given by Drummond and Begay.
“Before being released, he was admonished with a warning that he would be arrested for trespassing if he is ever inside any student residence in the future,” wrote SUDPS spokesperson Bill Larson in an statement to The Daily.
Panic circulated Meier Hall following an RA’s email announcement — sent to residents in the early hours of the morning — alerting them of a “situation going on in the dorm.”
“I think a lot of people right now are feeling very nervous, scared because we did send out an email… [and] when we didn’t give any explanation about that, it created a lot of fear,” Begay said.
“Lock your doors and stay inside your rooms tonight,” Drummond wrote in an email sent to residents of Meier and Naranja at 1:52 a.m, minutes after the man was reported to police.
“If anyone needs to leave their room (ie – to use the bathroom), just bring your key with you and keep the door locked,” he advised an hour later in a subsequent email.
At a dorm meeting on Tuesday evening, Meier RAs encouraged residents to become more aware of who they let into the building.
“We are using this incident as a teaching for the dorm,” Drummond added. “We want it to be customary to ask unknown individuals who they are visiting [and] purpose of their visit before letting them into the building.”
Contact Yasmin Samrai at ysamrai ‘at’ stanford.edu.